Last year, in the depths of the New Zealand summer, I was hanging out with my cousin. It was a sunny day, pretty warm as far as Auckland summers go, and we were just about to leave the house. “Hang on, I’ll just go get my Birks,” he yelled from the corridor. …What? Birks? What’s going on here? Having always been a jandals or sneakers kind of guy, I was thrown for a loop when he rocked up in beige, suede Arizona’s. Yep, the double strap.
Were Birks cool now? Apparently so, with Manolo Blahnik’s most recent collab, and Dior releasing their take on Birkenstocks coming this June, as it was part of the Men’s Autumn/Winter collection. Yep, BIRKS. At Dior. Kim Jones, we thank you…I think?
Birkenstocks are one of those things that are ultra-divisive, like Marmite (yum) or Kanye West (boo). Frankly I didn’t give them a second thought until they started being worn throughout New Zealand, not just on the feet of clueless dads and hippies, but also young and cool 20-somethings, who pair them with a maxi Maggie Marilyn dress or denim shorts and a patterned cotton shirt.
After Birkenstock lookalikes by Valentino, Proenza Schouler, Chanel, and our minimalist cult leader Jil Sander, Birks have taken over the fashion crowd – unironically, too. My favourite influencers such as Camille Charrière, Emili Sindlev, Kendall Jenner, and Jessie Bush all rock a good Birk, and I have to sway, they’ve influenced me over to the dark side.
Unfortunately for me, my feet in Birks look like a little troll had to go to the market. My feet look like that little demon in the Disney version of Hercules, and even Hades thinks they’re atrocious, and probably I bet not just because they’re Hercules merch, but because they’re Birks. When Satan hates your shoes, you know they’re a little questionable.
Regardless, I have put my name down for the Dior version, even though I ordered some actual beige, suede Boston’s, which I admit are pleasing to the eye, except when I put them on my foot I immediately threw my eyes to the ceiling, removed the offending shoe from my foot and sent them promptly back.
I suppose they’re the natural extension to Hermès clogs (which I still wear and love, even though you can hear me coming down the road from 500 metres away like an old horse and carriage) and those Balenciaga crocs (absolutely, not. Here I draw the line) – what’s next for us? To truly embrace the hippy-loving way of life? I support barefoot, but brands cannot make money over us not wearing shoes, as much as I like to feel the grass underfoot. Oh dear – I hope it’s not those little froggy socks, with a little sock nub for each toe, and a sticky pad on the sole for grip. Man, I loved those things when I was younger. I hope Dior makes a pair of those – sometimes you really have to hightail it to the kitchen when you forget you left the beef Bourguignon pie in the oven, and you have slippery wooden floors.
Until then, I’ll be trying, and trying again to fit my little pixie feet into clunky troll shoes, and love them. I’ve already put down a deposit on the Dior birks, so we can only hope…